SC junks Zaldy's exclusion plea

By Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 05 2012 05:26 PM | Updated as of Dec 06 2012 01:26 AM

MANILA - There is no stopping the arraignment of suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindananao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan on 58 counts of murder for the Maguindano massacre case, as the Supreme Court (SC) junked with finality Ampatuan's plea to be removed from the list of the accused.

In a 3-page resolution by the 3rd Division, signed by division clerk Lucita Soriano, dated Nov. 14, but released to the media only on Wednesday, the high court affirmed its June 25 and Aug. 15 ruling which junked Ampatuan's main petition and motion for reconsideration, respectively.

In his latest plea, which the court considered as a second motion for reconsideration, Ampatuan claimed his right to due process was violated because he was not made aware of "the facts and the law upon which they were based."

The high court, however, stressed that there is no hard and fast rule for it (SC) to frame its judgment and that it is the court's discretion on whether to release a minute resolution, as was the case in the Ampatuan ruling, or release a full blown decision.

The high court pointed out that the facts and laws are already contained in the Court of Appeals (CA) ruling it had affirmed. The high court said Ampatuan failed to show that the CA committed errors in its ruling against his petition.

No further pleadings shall be entertained on the case.

Fifty-eight people, mostly journalists, were brutally murdered in Ampatuan town on Nov. 23, 2009 in what is now known as the Maguindanao massacre. Ampatuan and members of his clan had been charged of the killing.